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1. Youwillneed to include a copy of your op-ed with your essay. This is your primary source, the one you’re actually analyzing.
2. You will incorporate at least fivecredible, reliablesecondary sources. Secondary sources help you to make your argument about the primary source.
a. You must use at least two different types of secondary sources (i.e., CQ Researcher issues, academic journals, books, etc.)
3. You will include a Works Cited page in MLA format. (Details of MLA format are available in the Little Seagull Handbook.)
Review Ch. 13, “Analyzing Arguments: Those You Read, and Those You Write” (275-304), to guide you during the writing process.
Your first essay asked you to identify the thesis of an ad and to analyze how it sold its product. This essay asks you to extend your analytical skills by examining an op-ed, identifying its thesis and incorporating secondary sources to make an argument about it.
For this piece, you will be required to choose a column, editorial, or op-ed(published 2009 or after) that engages your interest fromone of the following two sources:
o The New York Times Opinion pages:http://www.nytimes.com/pages/opinion/index.html
o NOTE: You can read up to 10 articles a month on the NYT website for free, so after each 10 articles you read, you will need to clear your browser cookies to continue.
o The Washington Post Opinion pages: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions
You will then analyze and evaluate the writer’s idea.Some summary may be necessary for understanding, but the focus of this essay is to engage directly with the strengths and weaknesses of the writer’s argument.You may agree or disagree with the author’s position, but you must formulate your own unique contribution to the conversation.
You might take several possible approaches: (These become harder as the list goes on.)
1. You disagree completely with the author.This approach will require that you are able to make concessions to the author’s point and respectfully explain your position. Although this may provide the easiest source of a thesis, you are still responsible for developing a thorough, narrowly focused thesis, supported by researched material. (It is particularly important to avoid the pitfall of ad hominem rhetoric.)
Example: You find an op-ed column that suggests the Finnish educational system is the most effective national program in producing scientists, and the author suggests that the same approach be implemented in the U.S.You can acknowledge that Finnish students have historically tested very highly in science, but you may disagree that their school system would achieve the same results in the U.S.Your thesis would explain why you hold this position, and your research would support this stance.
2. You agree with the author, up to a point.The challenge here is developing a thesis from the point at which you disagree with the author.You will need to explain both what you agree with and why you disagree at the point you do.
Example: You find an op-ed column that suggests the Finnish educational system is the most effective national program in producing scientists, and the author suggests that the same approach be implemented in the U.S.While you agree that the U.S. should follow Finland’s approach to teaching science to younger students, you believe that social and cultural differences between the two countries would prevent the U.S. from achieving the same results.Your thesis would address those differences, and would offer a modified or hybrid approach that would succeed in the U.S. Your research would both support your modified approach and explain why Finland’s approach would not suffice.
3. You completely agree with the author. Here, your thesis will use the author’s argument as a lens through which you will address a different problem or situation.The point is not simply to agree, but to extend the author’s argument to justify, through research, why this approach will apply to another situation.
Example: You find an op-ed column that suggests the Finnish educational system is the most effective national program in producing scientists, and the author suggests that the same approach be implemented in the U.S.You believe that Finland’s allocation of educational resources would benefit not only a similarly wealthy nation, such as the U.S., but could solve some of the perceived educational challenges faced by developing nations.In this case, your thesis would focus on a specific aspect of the argument and posit how this might apply to a country with a vastly different infrastructure.The research for this would support and justify why the given approach would work in a distinctly different situation.Be careful not to simply replicate (copy) the author’s original argument.
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